4 years ago my best friend ended her life, she was my light, someone who made me beyond happy. Her death was sudden, and when it happened we were young. I feel it was a big trauma in my life, I have never been able to truly move on. I have triggers surrounding what happened that cause panic attacks and bouts of extreme depression. After she died I made friends with a lovely girl who had stable mental health and was good for me. She lives across the country so we were online friends. In the past 2 years her mental health has become increasingly unstable, she was diagnosed with BPD, as well as other things. The relationship became very very toxic, she would harm herself to manipulate me and I felt as if I couldn't leave because sometimes she was nice, and other than her I had no friends. 2 weeks ago she attempted suicide, i saw it coming, she kept telling me she was going to do it. I dont know what it was but probably the trauma of what happened 4 years ago took over me, I felt powerless and as if I couldn't help her. I could barely respond the messages she was sending me, she told me repeatedly she was going to hurt herself and I did nothing. Then she did and ended up in hospital. When I found out I broke, all the bad memories came flooding back, I relapsed and became quite unstable myself, I had to leave university and come back home. I ended up saying to her that I couldn't help her and I deleted my social media so she couldn't contact me. I did all that while she was suffering in hospital and I feel like an awful friend for abandoning her. Last night I messaged her to apologise. She responded telling me that her attempt was my fault, she told me I make her want to die and that I am a terrible friend. She even said "I should have known better" talking about what happened 4 years ago. I can't cope with this, she blocked me on everything so I can't even explain myself. I feel as I did all those years ago, I couldn't save my best friend and now I just watched while my new friend tried to kill herself. I feel such guilt and shame, I made a mistake by abandoning her when she needed me the most. She will never forgive me. Why can't I just have mentally stable friends who make me happy? I just want to be loved and cared for, and I want someone I can be happy with rather than sad. I am so alone right now. I dont know what to do anymore.
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Thank you for coming to Asking Jude for advice. I am so sorry to hear about the passing of your friend and the marks it has left on you. I cannot imagine how painful it must have been to lose such a close friend. I understand that coping with her death has been extremely difficult for you. Please do not feel pressure to fully heal from what happened. This loss may always carry with you, especially since you two shared such a close bond. However, there are ways to gradually make it less painful. For advice on how you can cope with your loss, I recommend visiting this article https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/teen-angst/201705/coping-the-death-friend%3famp. It may also be beneficial to see a therapist to cope with panic attacks and depression. If you returned to university, you may be able to make appointments with your school’s counselor. If not, you may want to see listings for therapists in your area. If you decide you want to see a therapist, here is a link to finding a local one: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapists
I’m also very sorry to hear about the guilt you feel over what happened with your friend with BPD. I want to reassure you that what happened to her was not your fault. The trauma from losing a friend is triggering, so you being in a similar situation overwhelmed you to the point of relapse. I understand it can feel shameful to hear such hurtful words from her, but I urge you to remind yourself that you were in a very difficult position. She would benefit best under the treatment of a professional, so it is understandable that you did not know how to react or help her in that moment.
Is there a close relative you can reach out to for support? Difficult times like these can feel incredibly isolating, and I do not want you to feel as if you have to go through this alone. If there is no one you feel comfortable opening up to about this, you may choose to consult with any if the following textlines and/or hotlines:
-National Suicide Prevention Hotline (U.S.):
-Telephone Helpline: 877-995-5247 or download the Safe Helpline app on your phone
-Crisis Helpline: 800-233-4357
-Crisis Chat: https://www.contact-usa.org/chat.html
-Crisis Text Line: Text “HOME” to 741741
More telephone numbers can be found here: https://psychcentral.com/lib/telephone-hotlines-and-help-lines/
You could also keep a private mental health journal (https://screening.mhanational.org/content/how-keep-mental-health-journal). This can help you keep records of how you feel throughout the day, discover ways to cope with pain and anxiety, and rationalize thoughts that can put you into a depression.
If you feel yourself falling back into a depression, I recommend doing small things to improve your mental health. For example, you could take a quick moment to drink a glass of water. If that seems like too much, try taking small sips throughout the day. You may also want to set reminders on your phone to eat something and to go to bed on time. Here are some more ways you can avoid depressive triggers: https://www.healthline.com/health/how-to-avoid-depression#4.-Minimize-your-daily-choices- and https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/publications/how-to-mental-health
Please do not hesitate to come back to Asking Jude for further advice. We know these are difficult times for you and we want to assist you in the best way we can.
Sending all of my love and support,
May Beech, I am a member, here, at Asking Jude, not a peer counselor. I want you to know that your 'ask' was really painful for me to read. I'm a stranger and I feel I have to be nosy. You do not mention a parent or parents in your life. Evidently, that's something that you leave out of your 'ask.' I really wish I could help you. A peer counselor will get back to you. My best wishes to you...